Black Wattle’s place in the ecosystem

By on June 8, 2010

This afternoon whilst out in the garden I was looking at a very sickly Black Wattle, (Acacia melanoxylon). I often hear people say how useless these wattle trees are and that they should be removed as they will die in a few years anyway.

Black Wattle tree

Black Wattle tree

 As I was about to succumb to popular opinion and fetch the chainsaw, I noticed 3 Tawny Frog-mouths resting in its branches. The pile of droppings beneath them revealed that this was a favourite tree of theirs and that its removal would be of some inconvenience to them. Further investigation of the tree revealed how, not only the frog mouths, but many other animals called this tree home. The numerous holes and the sawdust at the base of the tree were made by Goat Moth larva (a favorite for the Black Cockatoos). The larva burrows through the tree for up to 5 years before pupating and causes the trees eventual death. The sawdust at the base was home to worms, a centipede and a variety of insects. Ant nests had been constructed in the vacated larva holes and spiders were casing the trunk looking for a quick meal. It was a real ecosystem before my eyes. And if that wasn’t enough when I went out at night to empty the scraps I found a Green Tree Frog sitting in its branches. Needless to say the wattle, which is home to so many, still stands.

Written by Phil Boyle

Family of Frogmouths

Family of Tawny Frog-mouths

The tree after the Black Cockatoos have feasted on the Goat mothl arvae

The tree after the Black Cockatoos have feasted on the Goat moth larva

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6 Comments

  1. Carly

    June 8, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    OMG they are so cute..They look like petrified wood.

  2. Kel555

    June 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I think you should have more articles like this!!! This is great thanks Phil Boyle, sounds like you know what you are talking about.

  3. Mitz

    June 8, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I wish we could all open our eyes to things like this. It is great that someone cares enough to write it all down for us. Thanks Phil.

  4. Kate

    June 8, 2010 at 11:36 am

    We all have to watch what we do. Including those developers in Woodford they have killed a lot wild life and those left living lost their homes.

  5. David

    June 8, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Mannn, that’s great!

    Not only have I learnt quite a bit but I realised the power of just taking the time to look at things – things going on around you all the time that one doesn’t even stop to notice – until of course one does stop to notice them.

    Thanks Phil Boyle for enlightening us. I look forward to any further such installments.

  6. Aurora

    June 8, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Great story. I will never look at my trees the same again.